This year, Homecoming at First Christian Church has a special meaning for me. As I shared in a recent sermon, during my three-year break from pastoral ministry, like many of us who have been a part of the church, I often felt the temptation to go solo with my faith.
On a Sunday morning run along the Tar River in Greenville, I would pray to God and enjoy being alive in God’s creation and think to myself, “This is the way to do church! There is no one to disagree with me or hurt my feelings. There is no one sharing their problems with me, making me uncomfortable, and taking up my time. And, I must confess, it was rather nice! However, I must also confess it was very selfish. It was arrogant, and it was self-righteous. The truth is: it was the very antithesis of who Jesus calls us to be as his disciples.
Someone recently told me that they quit going to church because they found church to be “depressing.”
I aked, “What do you mean?”
She responded, “Well, there I learn about people in town who are lonely, grieving, hospitalized, living in nursing homes, having financial hardships, struggling with daily life, and so on.” She then paused for a few seconds and said, “But I guess that is what being a disciple of Jesus is supposed to be about, isn’t it?”
I did not have to answer her.
So for me, this Homecoming means the rededication of my life to being a disciple of Christ. I am coming home. I am coming home to experience life with a family of faith where we are continually called upon to care for and even suffer for others. And I know of no better family to come home to than the First Christian Church of Farmville!
Like all families, there may be some disagreements, some hurt feelings, and even some resentments. Living life as a family can sometimes be burdensome and even depressing. However, we know it is where Jesus calls us to live and where we experience true life, abundant and eternal. We know, as I have discovered in recent weeks, it can be a taste of heaven.
Yes, this year, Homecoming has a special meaning for me. I hope it does for you too.